Number of trauma-related illnesses among soldiers remains high

Number of trauma-related illnesses among soldiers remains high

In 2018, 182 soldiers were newly diagnosed with deployment-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – twelve more than in 2017, as reported by the "neue osnabrucker zeitung" with reference to the sanitary service of the german armed forces.

The number of other deployment-related injuries, such as depression, continued to fall slightly, according to the sanitary service. In total, 279 soldiers were diagnosed with a deployment-related psychiatric illness last year – roughly the same number of new cases as in 2017, when 274 were diagnosed. Actual illnesses may be higher, because only cases treated in federal military facilities are paid for.

Nato’s combat mission in afghanistan ended in 2014. The german armed forces are only in the country for training and advising the afghan fighting forces. A defense ministry spokesman told the newspaper that in many cases, victims do not "take advantage of one of our many opportunities to help" until years after the event has occurred.

The defense commissioner of the bundestag, hans-peter bartels, assumes that "many soldiers also only report later, because it is only today that PTSD is regarded as a physical injury". For many soldiers, however, the illnesses are now chronic and it is questionable whether the bundeswehr can still adequately satisfy the existing need for treatment – especially since some of the positions in the psychiatric departments of the bundeswehr hospitals are not filled. Overall, however, many things have improved. Bartels to present his annual report on tuesday.

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